Gillian eased her grip on the Heckler and Koch MP5K-PDW. She had paid extra for the assault magazines and suppressor, but regretted the weight now. It was a superb weapon but the need to carry it one-handed while herding her kids had not been part of the tactical considerations. Then again, two-tone suede Louboutin shoes with four-inch heels were hardly suitable footwear for any firefight outside of a film studio.
Beyond the door to the first floor, the sounds of mayhem and confusion continued to diminish as the gunfire became sporadic. The last thing that Jeff had expected was for her to slam into his secured luxury apartment block off Wenceslas Square in Prague with all guns blazing and a six-man fireteam at her back.
“Ruby, this is Wideboy. The locals have called for fire support. We have Hinds and Pandurs inbound.” This ear-wrap comms unit was superb. She must remember to recommend it to Major Thomas; her old crew would love it.
“Bricky, this is Ruby. Drop the bridge before they reach it.”
“Can’t I even put a couple of ‘em in the drink?”
“Bricky, we’re here to get my kids, not to start a war with the Czech Republic.”
“Just thinking of future employment opportunities, boss.”
She grinned and rested the suppressor of the H&K on the stair rail. “After this, I don’t think Eastern Europe will be featuring in our itinerary for a while.”
“Good point boss. You always did have a touch for strategy.”
“Bricky, this is Killeye. Stop being an arse.”
Gillian chuckled. Her big brother couldn’t stop defending her, even when she was commander and he was sniper.
“Killeye, what’s the view?”
“The building won’t be surrounded until the army turn up. Until then, a blacked-up Sarath won’t attract notice for being in the wrong place with the wrong insignia.”
She leaned forward and looked down at her kids. Malc looked scared; Anna was concentrating on reassuring him as a way to counter her own fear.
“Hey, you two.”
They both looked up, faces lighting with hope.
“Fancy a ride in a tank?”
The Sarath wasn’t actually a tank, but it would qualify. It wasn’t even a Sarath, really. That was the Indian version. But calling it a BVP-2V didn’t come easily off the tongue in situations like this.
“Is that so Dad’s gang can’t get us?” Malc always had the downside view. Anna had the upside. But in this case, glossing the details wouldn’t help. She nodded.
Malc smiled. The absolute trust in his indestructible Mum nearly broke Gillian’s control. Not now. She could blubber and wail later. She had a clean getaway to make first.
“Ruby, this is Knockdown. All the goons are down, hiding or running. Everybody wants us to play nice all of a sudden.”
“That’s because you look like something out of the online wargames they play but kill for keeps.”
“Why thank you, boss.”
“Ruby, this is Razor. Don’t encourage him.”
“Razor, he’s your problem, woman. Haven’t you housetrained him yet?”
Gillian heard the thump of Razor punching Knockdown in his football-sized shoulder.
“Setting my woman on me boss? That’s low.”
“Talk to my ex about that.”
Knockdown and Razor stole glances back at the bullet-riddled and smoking remains of Jeff Kzejpik’s lounge. Somewhere in the ruins ex-husband, ex-crimelord Jeff lay with a look of fatal surprise on his bloodied face and at least twenty parabellum slugs in his torso.
“Roger that, boss.”
“Now the niceties are concluded, let’s go home. Killeye, let our ride know we’re coming. How long to exit the Sarath and get on the whirlybird?”
She could hear the satisfaction in her brother’s voice. “We don’t. We just drive in and it goes. I got us a Halo.”
The largest production helicopter ever built should do for a ride home, but – “It makes a big target, Killeye.”
“Did I forget to mention the Havoc I hired as escort? Happy birthday, sis.”
As cheers and laughter sounded over the comm. Gillian looked down at her kids again.
“Time to go home. In a tank-carrying helicopter.”
Malc looked up. “No way!”
She smiled. “No lie. Chris got it for my birthday.”
Anna stood up and smiled at her mum. “You have the best brother ever. Malc’s gotta try harder.”
Malc looked serious for a moment. “Give me time, Anna. I’ll never let you down.”
Gillian felt an icy chill of premonition. Another brother dedicated to his sister’s wellbeing at the expense of himself? She’d have to diffuse that. Not totally, just a bit.
“All units, bail for transport by the east fire exit.”
Everyone acknowledged. She straightened from her ready position, shouldered the H&K and picked up the shoes. Sally at the hairdressers would kill her if she left them behind.